The No. 4 UT Tyler softball team scored five runs in the sixth to narrow a once 6-0 deficit to No. 3 Augustana to just a single run before falling 7-5 in Sunday’s lone contest for the Patriots in the Irwin Softball Classic at Suddenlink Field.
UT Tyler posted five of their six hits in the contest in the final two frames to give themselves a chance for the victory in the bottom of the seventh inning in what would end up being the final game of the weekend for UT Tyler after Sunday’s second scheduled game against St. Mary’s was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Patriots scored all five of their runs with two outs in the sixth, batting through the lineup.
Kyla Mach got the Patriot offense going in that sixth inning with an RBI single that scored pinch runner Grace Davis, who pinch ran for Shelby Hughston earlier in the frame. Hughston who got on via a fielder’s choice and advanced over to second after being pinch ran for by Davis on an Ashley Perez two-out walk.
Amanda Marek loaded the bases for UT Tyler with a second-consecutive single for UT Tyler a batter later, and was then pinch ran for by Shae Harris. Mak Dominguez recorded an RBI walk for the second run of the inning on the ensuing at bat.
Pinch hitter Audrey Escamilla provided the turning point in the ballgame for the Patriots with a single to leftfield that scored both Harris and Mach to continue the two-out rally for the Patriots. Escamilla’s fourth single of the inning for the Patriots drew the score to 6-4.
Serena Saldivar came on to pinch hit with runners on second and third and forced the Vikings defense into a mistake with an error on the shortstop that scored Dominguez from third to narrow the margin to just a single run for UT Tyler after trailing by six entering the final two innings of play.
Two consecutive doubles for Augustana in the top of the seventh following that rally for the Patriots provided an insurance run for the Vikings. UT Tyler got the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh after pinch hitter Hanna Fradkin drew a walk and Perez singled through the left side before each runner advanced over on a Mach ground out to short for the second out of the inning.
The Patriots ultimately failed to score the second straight inning, ending the game at 7-5, but will take the positive momentum of five hits in the final two frames after being held to a single hit through five innings into Lone Star Conference play beginning next weekend.
Erin Hill got the start for UT Tyler and was credited with her first loss of the year despite allowing just a single earned run through 4.2 innings of work. UT Tyler committed a costly four errors in the contest, in what would ultimately prove to be the difference in the contest after the resurgent Patriot offense went to work in the final two innings.
Six different Patriots recorded a hit in the contest while Dominguez led the way with two RBI’s on the afternoon.
UT Tyler returns to action in a pair of Lone Star Conference doubleheaders this weekend against West Texas A&M and Eastern New Mexico. Friday’s doubleheader against West Texas A&M is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start while Sunday’s games will get started at 11 a.m. The games are set for Suddenlink Field.